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It's Groundhog Day, and you know what that means ... it's time for 2003 pre-season nominations for the Annual Batter's Box Joaquin Andujar Award.

Okay, so it's not realistically possible to call anything "first annual," and since we've never done this before, it's pretty likely that you don't "know what that means." Besides, if we learned anything from Andujar, it was his credo that the best one-word description for baseball was "you never know."

So sit back, relax, enjoy -- and participate in -- this inaugural edition of an award nomination process that will someday be known more familiarly as the "YouNeverKnows."

Since the Anaheim Angels clinched last year's World Series title -- does that still look strange when you read it? -- there have been more than three hundred player moves by the wacky conglomeration of independent businesses we call "Major League Baseball teams."

Pudge Rodriguez is a Marlin. Sure, you know that. Jim Thome is in Philly, Fred McGriff is in Los Angeles. You know that, too. You probably even know that Kevin Millar is in Japan somewhere, trying to buy a plane ticket to Logan International Airport in Boston.

The very fact that these types of moves have been dissected to the molecular level by media everywhere disqualifies them from nomination for an Andujar.

To be eligible for pre-season Andujar consideration, a player must have signed as a free agent -- either a major or minor league contract is acceptable -- with a new team in the off-season; players who have been traded are not eligible. No player who has been a legitimate All-Star -- paving the way for dozens of former Brewers, Pirates, Devil Rays and Royals to still be considered -- can ever win an Andujar.

The player who will eventually be awarded the 2003 Andujar will be the epitome, in retrospect, of a low-risk, high-reward transaction; think of Anaheim signing a shortstop named David Eckstein to a minor league deal a while back. The eventual winner may not even be on this list; check back in mid-season to see what former scrap-heap pitcher Don Gullett has resurrected in Cincinnati, for instance.

The completely scientific and statistically sound parameters by which nominees are identified involve nothing remotely sabermetric; instead, the process consists of the Andujar committee, made up entirely of the guy who thought up the idea, scanning the off-season transaction lists and picking out 25 items that, at least briefly, bring pause to the thought, "Hey, that might just work out ..."

In other words, "YouNeverKnow."

The early favorite to host the post-season Andujar Award Presentation Show is Cleveland, where the Indians have nabbed former Arizona lefty Brian Anderson, who may end up the team's #2 starting pitcher, and liberated OF/1B/DH Shane Spencer from the Bronx, where the injury bugaboo and the team's great love of veterans kept the powerful former late-season phenom on the bench too often.

If Gullett were up the river in Pittsburgh instead of up a creek in Cinicinnati, he might be drooling over the possibilities of adding Rolando Arrojo, Jeff Suppan and Julian Tavarez to a Buc rotation that already has a few useful parts. Any team that could've added Arrojo, Suppan and Tavarez five years ago would have been lauded as "building for the future." Now, only Suppan has a guaranteed contract.

While Arrojo's career fell apart in Boston, the Red Sox are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle by re-habbing former top-notch setup man Chad Fox and teaching Devil Ray castoff -- how's that look on a resume, anyway? -- Ryan Rupe to throw strikes. The Sox have also inked former Brewer All-Star (see above loophole) Dave Nilsson to a contract to compete for time at 1B/DH with David Ortiz, Jeremy Giambi and a cast of others who can't move well enough to play anywhere else. Theo Epstein has received a lot of press since becoming the game's youngest GM, but Boston fans might be legitimately concerned if the Fox and Nilsson signings foreshadow a run on acquiring former Brewers.

Speaking of Bud's Brew Crew, they seem to be taking a page out of Cleveland's book by hooking up with a middling starting pitcher who couldn't handle the big city and a former Yankee OF who couldn't earn enough playing time to stay sharp. But instead of Anderson and Spencer, the Brewers came up with Todd Ritchie and John VanderWal. The latter is a legitimate hitter -- cue everyone's favorite phrase, "he's a professional hitter" -- while Ritchie hopes to duplicate the small-market, bottom-of-the-standings success he had in Pittsburgh.

Everybody's looking for pitching, of course, and familiar names are popping up in the agate type recently. The Royals lost their top two pitchers in Suppan and Paul Byrd, so quickly inked former White Sox top-of-the-rotation guy James Baldwin, who believe it or not may be their Opening Day starter.

The Royals signed a veteran pitcher to stabilize that thing they call a rotation; the Tigers went the other direction and signed veteran catcher Bill Haselman, whose reputation as excellent working with pitchers precedes him back to the Motor City, where he's had a previous stint. Haselman probably won't play enough to stay on the nominee list throughout the season, but his behind-the-scenes effect is likely to be felt by Andy Van Hekken, Franklyn German and the other young Tiger hurlers.

While A's fans are probably still celebrating the re-acquisition of 4-A batting star Billy McMillon, who will outperform both Chris Singleton and Terrence Long in spring training before ending up in Toledo, the signing of division rival Seattle's soft-tossing lefty John Halama could pay off down the road, especially as Ted Lilly makes his annual trip to the DL. As noted in this space previously, Halama has the look of potentially being a young -- relatively speaking -- Jamie Moyer.

The Mariners picked up former Brewer -- that phrase sure is getting a workout -- Jamey Wright to fill Halama's roster spot, and revamped their bench with veteran sticks Greg Colbrunn and John Mabry. Colbrunn may prove especially useful if Edgar Martinez continues his age-driven slide toward fringe Hall of Fame ballot status. Both Colbrunn and Mabry are nice players, but the Mariners probably would have been better off with Orlando Palmeiro, who landed in St. Louis red.

If Frank Thomas decides to join Edgar down that winding, sliding path, the White Sox' under-the-radar acquisition of Brian Daubach could be the difference in the American League Central. Other former Red Sox hoping to get into a pennant race are Troy O'Leary with the Cubs (who might) and John Valentin with the Orioles (who, uh, might not).

The remaining pitchers in our list of 25 nominees are Ron Villone, providing depth for an aging Arizona staff; lefty specialist Mike Venafro, replacing an overrated Chris Hammond in Atlanta; and proof that an injured bird can just change his feathers, Chris Carpenter swooping from the Blue Jays to the Cardinals for further rehab.

Our three remaining candidates all hope to latch on as utilitymen and establish themselves in the mold of former Tiger do-everything Tony Phillips. The best bet to do so is underrated Tyler Houston, who can play corner infield, corner outfield and catch for the resurgent Phillies. But keep an eye on Phillie reject Marlon Anderson, who may play every position except pitcher, catcher and first base for the not-so-resurgent Devil Rays.

Finally, a real darkhorse ... remember Louisiana State College World Series hero, Warren Morris? After a nice start to his career with Pittsburgh -- following a trade there from Texas -- Morris has seemingly fallen off the map completely. Now he's in Detroit, with as good a chance as anyone to nab a roster spot, on a team that has at least been a waystation for players with promise finally realizing it. If Morris follows the path of, say, Phil Nevin, Luis Gonzalez, and more recently Karim Garcia, you'll want to keep an eye on him wherever he lands after leaving Motown.

Let's take a minute to recognize some of those players not quite making the cut for the pre-season nominations. We love knuckleballers, and have heard Jared Fernandez compared to Joe Niekro, but he's not likely to duplicate the younger knuck-brother's success in Houston. Clubhouse leadership may be an underrated unmeasureable, but Texas isn't likely to win enough to make a big deal out of bringing back Ruben Sierra. And any time the Rockies acquire an otherwise ordinary player with a little pop, it's tempting to overreact, but Chris Stynes … I knew Vinny Castilla, Vinny Castilla was a fantasy baseball friend of mine. And Chris, you're no Vinny Castilla.

There are still seven players on ESPN's Top 50 Free Agents list who have yet to sign a 2003 contract, but let's face facts. If you just assigned Reggie Sanders, Kenny Rogers, Chuck Finley, Kenny Lofton, David Justice, Rick Helling and Robert Person to the Devil Rays or the Royals, they'd still finish last. And besides, all except Person have big enough "names" to be disqualified from consideration.

Batter's Box authors and readers are invited to cast their ballots for the top five candidates listed as nominees for the 2003 Andujar; write-in votes are welcome. Points will be tabulated on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis and balloting will close at midnight on Monday, February 17. Tell your friends to vote early and vote often.

Because YouNeverKnow.

Mick Doherty's Ballot
1. Shane Spencer
2. Tyler Houston
3. John Halama
4. Brian Daubach
5. Todd Ritchie
2003 Andujar Nominations: YouNeverKnow! | 20 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Craig B - Sunday, February 02 2003 @ 09:16 PM EST (#33760) #
My number one favourite for the Andujar is a deep dark horse right now... Oakland outfielder Rontrez Johnson.

Unusual for a Rule 5 pick to be a favourite to have a breakout season, but Johnson is an unusual player. Not many 25-year-old centerfielders get on base at a .400 clip in AAA, especially when slugging .456 to boot. He also stole 31 bases. The fact that the Royals had no use for him says everything about the Royals; with Donnie Sadler getting nine starts as a corner outfielder, you have no use for Johnson? Ouch.

Omaha is a TERRIBLE hitter's park on top of it all. Johnson's Major League Equivalency (using Dan Symborski's method) for his Omaha performance (478 PA) is .289/.378/.426, which is a superb leadoff man. And he's a young player, getting better.

Texas signed Johnson as a six-year minor league free agent but failed to put him on the 40-man roster. That was all the impetus Oakland needed to swoop him up in the Rule 5. You read it here first, folks: Johnson isn't going back to Texas, which means he isn't going back to the minors.

Could he really move ahead of Chris Singleton? Eventually, in Oakland, the talent will out - all the faster when it's earning the $300,000 minimum. Johnson is a hitter, and Singleton isn't, and nothing that Singleton can do will move him ahead of Johnson. I fully expect Johnson to play regardless, in left if not in center. He's a better hitter than any of the A's outfielders except for Jermaine Dye, better than Byrnes, better than Piatt, better than Long, better than Singleton. He's also probably a better defender than any of those except Singleton. Even if he doesn't play center, I'm sure he will play left and hit near the top of the order.

Johnson won't win Rookie of the Year; that will go to Matsui's 36 home runs. But if Johnson scores more runs than even Matsui, I won't be surprised at all. I'm not normally a Billy Beane fanatic, but this is a very solid pickup.
Gitz - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 12:44 AM EST (#33761) #
I’ll stick with three names:

1. Jeff Suppan
2. Greg Colbrunn
3. Tyler Houston

I really like Suppan—not as an ace, but as a dependable #4 or 5 starter. He’s exactly the kind of pitcher the A’s (and other contenders) could use to supplement their horses: a low-level innings eater with a good health record.

Colbrunn can mash, plain and simple. He hasn’t played full-time since 1996, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to handle it if Edgar Martinez goes down again. Colbrunn’s OPS splits the last three years: .953 vs. lefties (288 at-bats), .929 vs. righties (309 at-bats). Safeco is an unpleasant place to hit, and maybe Colbrunn can’t play every day. Fine. Let’s see the proof.

I echo Mick’s sentiments of Houston. If he can stay healthy, he’ll help the Phillies.

As for Rontrez Johnson, I’ll offer more of my cold water.

1) Two years ago he was with Boston, then he went to the Royals, then to the Rangers, now to the A's. That says something to me. If he’s so good, one of those teams—depsite their flaws in player development—would have seen something. My first reaction to Johnson was that he’s Mario Valdez or Billy McMillon from the right side of the dish.

2) Until last year, he didn't have plate discipline. All I have are BP's adjusted numbers, but his highest OBP was .337, in AAA Pawtucket, in 2001. Last year may have been a spike. At any rate, major league pitchers throw more strikes.

3) The guy’s 26. He had better dominate the competition, and he was a AAA repeater.

4) The A’s signed Singleton AFTER they drafted Johnson. The job is Singleton’s, for better or worse, at least this year. The A’s aren’t going to throw $2 million away. If Johnson plays, he’ll play in LF. But the A’s are stuck there, too, as I’ve said. Johnson may make the club, but he won’t have an impact.
Craig B - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 10:07 AM EST (#33762) #
I had a great reply on Johnson ready to go... and somehow lost it. Oh well. At any rate, I agree with almost all the cautionary stuff Gitz is saying... particularly the fact that Jonhson's year in Omaha may have been a one-year wonder.

Anyway, the high points were this... (1) Johnson isn't a future star, not a "prospect", he's a ready-now player who is useful, not great so you need to use slightly different criteria than in thinknig about "prospects"; (2) he does a few things well (hit for average, make contact, steal bases) and can play some center - which makes him "useful" like Jeff Suppan, but very unlikely to be a future star; (3) I was giving him bonus points for being a minor-league FA and a Rule 5 pick; (4) the A's understand "sunk costs" and T. Long isn't going to play in left if Johnson is better; (5) Singleton is likely to be moved if he proves surplus to requirements (and a taker can be found); (6) the A's have no leadoff hitter, unless they plan to hit Scott Hatteberg leadoff all year. Johnson is a leadoff hitter. He'd actually be the best #9 hitter in the AL, but on this team he's best in the leadoff spot since they have a great #9 guy in Mark Ellis.

Someone on Primer recently posted an article where Billy Beane was quoted as saying something like "the first third of the season is where you find out what you have, the second third is where you consolidate your talent, the final third is where you hit the passing lane and floor it." I think Johnson is more likely to be part of the team in those last two-thirds than Long or Singleton.

It's a longshot, (some might even say it's a trap) but we'll see.
_Jordan - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 10:15 AM EST (#33763) #
I'll deliver three nominees, one from the above list and two write-ins, if they qualify:

1. David Ortiz, Boston

Ortiz was criminally misused by Tom Kelly early in his career, then suffered through a rash of injuries when he was just starting to get on track. Even so, in just 412 at-bats last season, he cracked 32 doubles and 20 HRs, both career highs. He's only batted below .272 once in his career,and he slugged an even .500 last season. His career OPS on the road is higher than at home (827 to 791). Many people think of him as a platoon player, but his OPS against lefties lifetime is 795, while against righties it's 813: he can hit anyone from either side of the mound. He'll take the first-base job in Boston in spring training and run with it, cracking 30-35 HRs and posting an OPS in the 875 range.

2. Jose Hernandez, Colorado

I don't know if this one qualifies, since Hernandez was rather sought after in the off-season. But if he does, then he's this year's Jeffrey Hammonds. Hernandez strikes out a ton, but he walks at a decent rate and has power to spare. He had a career season in 2002, posting a .288/.356/.478 line. In Colorado, he'll bump those numbers up by about 60 points overall, going .290/.360/.530 for a near-900 OPS. Whether the Rox play him at shortstop, as they should, or at third, he'll still be one of the NL's most productive players on the left side of the infield, a bargain at one million bucks.

3. John Halama, Oakland

Billy Beane has access to a lot more statistical data than I do, so he's fully aware that Halama has a respectable career 184/333 BB/K rate, and that he's been better against RHs (764 OPS against) than lefties (868) over his career. He's also seen these splits:

Halama 2002
Starting: 4-1, 4.83, 10 G
Relieving: 2-4, 2.31, 21 G

Halama 2001
Starting: 6-6, 5.78, 17 G
Relieving: 4-1, 1.84, 14 G

I think Beane will turn Halama loose in the bullpen as his long relief man, and by season's end he'll have the next Arthur Rhodes on his hands. And if it helps Halama find his major-league feet and he becomes an effective starter this season or the next, all the better.

Those are my nominees. I hope to be Joaquin away with the prize at season's end. :-)
Coach - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 10:58 AM EST (#33764) #
any time the Rockies acquire an otherwise ordinary player with a little pop, it's tempting to overreact

So if it's an exceptional player with a lot of pop, and you're a fella who's not inclined to resist temptation anyway...

Carve Jose Hernandez' name on the Andujar trophy -- a bat? -- right now. The committee ignored a few Blue Jays who could be contenders; Frank Catalanotto is my second choice.

Of the actual "nominees," I like Halama best. But Mick, thanks for adding to my confusion about Shane Spencer. I can keep him with a $12 salary in the TRHL, or toss him into the draft. I was inclined to do the latter, and hoped to get him back for $7 or $8, but now you've driven up the price, and "gave away preseason pick as Andujar winner" would tarnish my resume.
_Scott R. Lucas - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 11:32 AM EST (#33765) #
Here goes:

1. Todd Ritchie - Extraordinarily unlucky last year. Hit rate (on ball in play) of .343, was just .298 going into last year. Moving from hitter-friendly park and big expectations to more neutral park and no media attention.

2. Jeff Suppan - Kansas City, not Texas or Cleveland, has the most hitter-friendly park in the AL. Leaving it should help. He ought to throw 200 innings with a mid-4 ERA. Not sexy, but useful.

3. John Vanderwal - Career .795 OPS. He'll earn his paycheck.

4. Greg Colbrunn - What Gizzi said.

5. John Halama - I couldn't find a fifth on my own, but Jordan makes a good argument for Halama, so why not.

Other thoughts:

I don't pretend to know much about Shane Spencer, but my examination of his stats leaves me a skeptic. He's a career .256/.318/.413 hitter outside of his incredible debut in 1998. He has an .851 OPS at Yankee Stadium and .696 elsewhere. (Does that mean he loves Yankee Stadium or just loves to be home? I don't know.)

I like Tyler Houston, but how much will he play? His two best positions are occupied by expensive free-agent signings. He hasn't caught a game since 2000 and hasn't caught more than 25 games since 1998.
Mike D - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 12:02 PM EST (#33766) #
Adding on to what Scott just wrote...As unlucky as Todd Ritchie was, Jose Hernandez was luckier than Todd Ritchie was unlucky: .406 on balls in play. The man was Ted Williams when he didn't strike out! "Unsustainable" is another way to look at Jose's .288.

Problem is, strikeouts are a tremendous drag on BA and OBP, because it sharply limits the opportunities one has to take advantage of one's "pop." I therefore disagree with Coach's premature etching. I say Jose is less lucky this year, but with reduced K's due to reduced breaking-ball effectiveness in Coors, and inflated extra-base the way it all shakes out, I see marginal Coors-related improvement along Jordan's lines. Good numbers, but not worthy of the coveted Andujar.

1. Chad Fox
2. David Ortiz
3. Aquilino Lopez
Craig B - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 12:03 PM EST (#33767) #
like "the first third of the season is where you find out what you have, the second third is where you consolidate your talent, the final third is where you hit the passing lane and floor it."

That wasn't on Primer, that was right here on Batter's Box!

Man, this site rocks. :)
Coach - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 01:39 PM EST (#33768) #
Mike: Chad Fox? I hope his arm is already packed in ice. But I do like Aquilino Lopez...

TACOMA RAINIERS -- 2002      W-L Record:  65- 76

4- 4 .500 2.39 34 11 0 0 10 5 109.1 89 402 438 33 29 6 3 4 2 27 2 103 4 4

GIGANTES -- 2002/03      W-L Record:  27- 23

2- 1 .667 3.35 13 0 0 0 0 0 48.1 36 0 0 19 18 0 0 0 0 12 0 54 0 0
Hmm, four balks. Might be a pretty good move to first, or a funky windup. Has anyone seen this guy in the PCL? A hitter's league, don't forget. Seattle was ticked when he aged more than four years one day; Pat's loss is J.P.'s gain and that's two dandy Rule 5 picks in a row. Should be the long man -- 157.2 IP and 11 starts give you an idea of Aquilino's stamina -- and he arrives with far more success, at a higher level, than Corey Thurman brought last year. I don't care how old he is, the Jays could rally behind him in the middle innings for a bunch of Ws.
_Sean - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 02:23 PM EST (#33769) #
I was going to nominate John Halama, but he's been cited already. Colbrunn, too.

Jose Hernandez was an all-star SS last year, so I think he's barred from consideration.
Craig B - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 03:33 PM EST (#33770) #
More candidates...

As I mentioned above, Johnson is a dark horse, but there are another couple of unmentioned candidates that bear watching. Desi Relaford, believe it or not, can hit. He's moving to a real good hitters' park in Kansas City, and a wide-open shortstop job... with the third base job waiting should the Royals finally manage to trade Joe Randa. Another Royal worth taking a look at is Albie Lopez who should be able to eat up a lot of innings at the front of the Royals staff, unless they pull another stupid and put him in the bullpen (they are apparently thinking about doing this...) Any pitcher who can throw 200 innings of league-average pitching always has a chance at 15+ wins, and Lopez can probably do that.

On the same note, I'd mention perennial innings-eater Dave Burba, but he's already enough of a "name" to disqualify him, I think. As a former all-star, I'd say Rob Fick is also out, but he could collect 100 RBI in Atlanta if things break right. He is not, however, a "legitimate" all-star.

My real favourite, though, is former Rockie, now Ranger, John Thomson. This guy can flat-out pitch, and I would expect him to win at least 12 games this year, probably more, in the middle of the Ranger rotation.

My picks are pitcher-heavy:

1. John Thomson
2. Todd Ritchie
3. Rolando Arrojo
4. Rontrez Johnson
5. Frank Catalanotto (good call, Coach)
Craig B - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 03:38 PM EST (#33771) #
Incidentally, I second Jordan's comment on David Ortiz. He can hit. I wouldn't expect too much going forward, but for just 2003, he looks good to repeat (at least) a very good 2002 and possibly add some appearances.
_Sean - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 03:45 PM EST (#33772) #
Good call on Desi Relaford, Craig. I forgot to mention him; I was quite impressed at his play with the Mariners, given his humble role; and he should get a ton of PT with the Royals to jack up his counting stats. He really can hit, and is sort've like a stealth-McLemore.
Gitz - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 05:17 PM EST (#33773) #
I'd like to second the John Thompson nomination. I'll think he'll out-pitch Ted Lilly this year, no matter how tough The Ballpark is to pitch in.

Frank Catalanatto? I think he's disqualified, by virtue of him nearly winning a batting title two year ago.
Coach - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 06:44 PM EST (#33774) #
No player who has been a legitimate All-Star -- paving the way for dozens of former Brewers...

Will the committee clarify the eligibility of Hernandez and Cat? If they're OK, my ballot's 60% hitters, if not, it tilts to the pitchers.

If Ritchie's poor season was due to high expectations and putting too much pressure on himself, I guess he could bounce all the way back to 2001 form, but I like Halama, Lopez, Thomson and Suppan better. Relaford's a very good call; he's also a solid fantasy pick this year, eligible at several positions, and in a rare good move by K.C., should get more AB in a much better home park in a softer division.

1. Hernandez
2. Catalanotto
3. Halama
4. Lopez
5. Relaford
AE1 Thomson
AE2 Suppan

If I knew how to create voting options, buttons, etc., I would ask if people want them. But I don't, so if there's an HTML doctor in the house...
_Greg - Monday, February 03 2003 @ 08:08 PM EST (#33775) #
A real DARKHORSE: Mike Garcia (Baltimore)
From "He’s a 6’2" 220 lb right-handed pitcher. Garcia is a journeyman who got a couple cups of coffee with the Pirates in ’99 as a 31-year-old rookie and ’00 (20 games, 18.1 IP, 7.36 ERA). Had a tremendous 2002 season, beginning with the Yucatan Leones of the Mexican League where he had an 0.96 ERA in 37.1 innings, and averaged an amazing 12.5 K/9 and 0.5 non-intentional walks per 9. He topped that off with ten innings where he was unscored upon for Rochester after being acquired by the Orioles. Had 17 saves, a 3.33, and further impressive K/BB numbers for Mexicali in the Mexican winter league."

The Os are a one-trick-pony; they pull one of these guys out of their (hats) every season. If Julio is hit by the sophomore jinx, this guy could get 30 saves.
_Chuck Van Den C - Tuesday, February 04 2003 @ 01:39 PM EST (#33776) #
Coach, why is it you think Catalanotto is a contender to win this YouNeverKnow thingy?

His OPS's the past 3 years have been 882, 808 and 825. Do you sense that bigger things are afoot?

Basically, I see Catalanotto as a LH version of Shannon Stewart. While I once felt that Stewart was capable of a 900 OPS, I believe that he and Catalanotto are both 800-850 OPS types. Neither of them walk enough or hit for enough power for a truly remarkable season.

Coach - Tuesday, February 04 2003 @ 02:46 PM EST (#33777) #
Chuck, 2001 was Cat's first "full" season. He seemed to thrive on the extra AB, so I was very high on him last spring, expecting a career year. Everything went wrong; they didn't use him enough early, maybe because his back was sore, and when he could have salvaged the lost season with a big finish, he got hit by a pitch. So if he's healthy, and gets the 500 AB the Jays want him to have, a doubles-heavy .900 OPS seems within reach, and he should drive in some runs if he ends up in the 6-hole or 7-hole. He's still only 29, with his best chance yet to become a regular, and he's playing for his next contract, either in arbitration or as a free agent. But there are no guarantees implied or suggested.
_Scott Lucas - Tuesday, February 04 2003 @ 03:09 PM EST (#33778) #
Coach, to my knowledge Cat's back was fine going into the 2002 season. Narron just wouldn't start him against lefties. Cat started only three of a possible 25 games against lefthanded pitchers compared to 48 of 52 against righties.

Alas, when Narron said in Spring Training that he wanted Cat's bat in the lineup every day, I believed him and instructed my readers to do likewise.
Mike D - Tuesday, October 28 2003 @ 05:25 PM EST (#33779) #
OK, I know that the Andujar Trophy is a player's award, and not a prize for the best prognostications.

But since Esteban L----a (I won't spell his infernal name out) will likely be a unanimous Andujar winner -- and believe me, nobody here predicted it -- I think I'd like to make a case for myself as Andujar Prognositcator of the Year.

I had Chad Fox, eventually a reliable member of the Miracle Marlins; David Ortiz, who will get Peter Gammons' first-place MVP vote; and Aquilino Lopez, likely the Jays' ace reliever in 2004.

Kudos to Coach for Desi Relaford, and others had Ortiz...but after reading the entries, I think I come out on top.
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